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No rules resource nationalism: A growing threat to EVs?
No rules resource nationalism: A growing threat to EVs?
Callum Burroughs
19 June 2018

Resource nationalism is always present, but a recent increase in intensity fuelled by an uptick in commodity prices has got some in the growing electric vehicle (EV) market worried. In short, resource rich governments now have the balance of power in a highly competitive global market for lithium and cobalt resources, and long term supply contracts and regulation are being renegotiated with increasing frequency.

A ballsy solution: Metinvest's borrowing bounceback
A ballsy solution: Metinvest's borrowing bounceback
Callum Burroughs
30 May 2018

Despite finalising a lengthy debt restructuring in 2017, vertically integrated metals producer Metinvest returned to the debt markets in April to close the largest refinancing by a Ukrainian corporate to date. Not only has the borrower managed to extend its debt maturities, the combined bond and PXF refinancing has significantly lowered the overall cost of debt.

Corporate renewables PPAs: Stepping up in the credit equation
Corporate renewables PPAs: Stepping up in the credit equation
Callum Burroughs
14 February 2018

A record amount of renewables corporate PPAs signed in 2017 and the trend looks set to continue. With US PPA structures working their way into Europe, and the rise of zero subsidy renewables projects, PPAs are taking on much more importance for bank credit committees.

Russian PXFs: Flight to paper?
Russian PXFs: Flight to paper?
Callum Burroughs
6 February 2018

Russian corporates are continuing a re-evaluation of their funding mix following a spate of post-sanctions unsecured loan firsts in 2017. A number of commodities-linked borrowers are repricing existing structured trade facilities, but the unsecured trend is now spreading to the bond market.

Going green: Will sustainable finance hit the commodities mainstream?
Going green: Will sustainable finance hit the commodities mainstream?
Callum Burroughs
23 January 2018

Sustainable financing in commodity trade finance has been slow to catch on. But adoption is now key for the market, with early movers in line to reap the benefits of better pricing and improved regard within the industry.

Mining for more margin
Mining for more margin
Callum Burroughs
17 January 2018

In conjunction with an uptick in industrial metals pricing, more mining companies are beginning to consider commodity trading for themselves.

NEG-ed out?
NEG-ed out?
Callum Burroughs
10 January 2018

A boom in interest in Australian renewables projects could be curtailed by the government’s plans to introduce a National Energy Guarantee (NEG). Borrowers have benefited from greater liquidity and cheaper pricing in recent times, but it is not clear how much longer those conditions will last.

Everbridge Capital: Thinking outside the  box
Everbridge Capital: Thinking outside the box
Callum Burroughs
19 December 2017

Start-up trade and project finance boutique Everbridge Capital is carving out a relatively unique niche – long term ECA-backed financing in Russia and projects in, and Russian exports to, Iran. And the strategy appears to be working.

Dfin: From a different cut
Dfin: From a different cut
Callum Burroughs
6 December 2017

With banks retreating from the midstream diamond financing sector, the cost of debt for diamond traders is spiralling and creating the ideal climate for alternative lenders. TXF talks to Christopher Ellis and Bryan Walker, co-founders of alternative midstream diamond lending start-up Dfin, about the opportunity they see in a high-demand-low-availability debt niche.

Trafigura takes first dip in inventory ABS funding pool
Trafigura takes first dip in inventory ABS funding pool
Callum Burroughs
24 November 2017

With bank regulatory capital constraints tightening, serial ABS issuer Trafigura has closed its first inventory-backed securitisation in a bid to boost its non-bank lending pool. Given the competitive margin on the deal – other major commodity traders may well follow the template.

Russian PXFs: Has the post-2014 bubble burst for good?
Russian PXFs: Has the post-2014 bubble burst for good?
Callum Burroughs
20 November 2017

Margins and the security afforded by pre-export loans to Russian borrowers have weakened in 2017 as unsecured loans gain market share. But is it simply a market correction or an ongoing trend?

Shop Talk: Concord Resources on breaking into the metals market
Shop Talk: Concord Resources on breaking into the metals market
Callum Burroughs
9 November 2017

TXF spoke to Mark Hansen CEO of commodity trader Concord Resources about the current market, the company’s ambitions and the changes to China’s metals supply and demand dynamic.

El Salvador PV: Keeping costs down
El Salvador PV: Keeping costs down
Callum Burroughs
6 November 2017

In anticipation of new renewable energy auctions for large-scale projects in December or January 2018, El Salvador has continued to progress in the project space despite the country’s challenging credit rating.

Sub-Saharan renewables: Growing green
Sub-Saharan renewables: Growing green
Callum Burroughs
23 October 2017

The development of large-scale renewables projects in sub-Saharan Africa has been slowed by a relative dearth of commercially bankable projects. However, as renewables project costs lessen, and the small-scale sector starts to take off, upscaling projects begins to look more viable.

Chinese metals: Overseas expansion - overseas debt?
Chinese metals: Overseas expansion - overseas debt?
Callum Burroughs
12 October 2017

Chinese metals producer Xiangguang Copper is out to the bank market with a $100 million pre-export financing. The deal is symptomatic of the growing demand by Chinese metals producers for offshore borrowing – demand which could yet climb further given overseas expansion plans.

Trading places
Trading places
Callum Burroughs
29 September 2017

As LNG markets mature, commodity traders are making significant inroads into the LNG space - both as providers of finance and infrastructure - and look set to challenge the oil majors for market share going forward.

OOCEP: Patience pays
OOCEP: Patience pays
Callum Burroughs
25 September 2017

Despite a sovereign downgrade in the period between financial close on PDO's initial pre-export loan in 2016 and OOCEP's recent pre-export debut, the pricing difference between the two deals is minimal.

KazMunaiGas: Ramping up the prepays
KazMunaiGas: Ramping up the prepays
Callum Burroughs
21 September 2017

After years of delays and uncertainty Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field is ramping up production. State-owned oil company KazMunaiGas is locking in larger and longer prepayments in anticipation, with one facility closed and another extension on the way.

Reputational risk: A growing issue for commodity traders?
Reputational risk: A growing issue for commodity traders?
Callum Burroughs
14 September 2017

Concurrent with the imminent launch of a refinancing of Gunvor’s $1.67 billion revolving credit facility (RCF), the borrower is at the centre of a storm of allegations regarding its past conduct in Congo-Brazzaville. While the legal battle is unlikely to deter lenders, reputational risk could begin to impact debt pricing in commodity finance.

Under the microscope: South African mining's crisis management
Under the microscope: South African mining's crisis management
Callum Burroughs
12 September 2017

A summer of discontent, replete with a credit downgrade, an opposed mining charter, and ongoing political problems, has hit South African debt markets. Miners seemed to have been particularly affected with deal appetite from commercial banks for mining projects looking slim as autumn approaches.

Digging for cash: Lithium miners explore debt options
Digging for cash: Lithium miners explore debt options
Callum Burroughs
7 September 2017

Demand for lithium is ballooning along with technological advances in the battery market. However, limited market expertise among newcomers, the inability to hedge lithium pricing or predict future demand is making already tricky extraction even more problematic and expensive to finance.

Ukraine borrowers set for lower cost cash injection?
Ukraine borrowers set for lower cost cash injection?
Callum Burroughs
4 September 2017

Ukrainian corporates have had a tough time of it since 2014 when Crimea was annexed by Russia. However, just three years later the better names in Ukraine are returning to the debt markets and finding appetite from banks willing to take on the country’s risk premium.

Argentina's power funding pace picks up
Argentina's power funding pace picks up
Callum Burroughs
18 August 2017

GE EFS and YPF’s recent commercially banked project financing for two thermal power plants in Argentina, the first such deal in almost 20 years, has proven the financial viability of some Argentine power projects. But while lender sentiment is improving, project borrowers still face major funding challenges.

Southern Gas Corridor: Pipe dream to pipe reality
Southern Gas Corridor: Pipe dream to pipe reality
Callum Burroughs
15 August 2017

Development of the $43 billion Southern Gas Corridor has been dogged by concerns over Azerbaijan’s creditworthiness, politics and even ancient olive groves. But the DFI, multilateral and commercial bank funding tap keeps on giving.

Moscow Central Ring 3: Cashphalt costs
Moscow Central Ring 3: Cashphalt costs
Callum Burroughs
11 August 2017

At the end of July the sponsors of the Moscow Central Ring Road section III concession reached financial close with a mix of public grants and domestic bank debt. The deal had a hard ride to close given disagreements between lenders and the borrower over the use of fixed or floating rate debt.

Treviso PPP: First aid for hospital funding
Treviso PPP: First aid for hospital funding
Callum Burroughs
8 August 2017

One of the largest healthcare project financings in Italy to date, the Treviso hospital PPP is a mix of public grants, commercial bank debt and cheap EIB loans that has generated an overall cost of debt saving of €1.8 million for the sponsor.

Expect the unexpected: Ferrexpo returns to debt market
Expect the unexpected: Ferrexpo returns to debt market
Callum Burroughs
4 August 2017

Amid an uncertain political and economic landscape in Ukraine syndicated debt offerings have been few and far between. Ferrexpo’s decision to tap the PXF market indicates that banks are still able to finance good assets in otherwise tricky jurisdictions.

Debt departure: Budapest airport refi cuts costs
Debt departure: Budapest airport refi cuts costs
Callum Burroughs
31 July 2017

Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt airport has battled back to secure an extended, cheaper debt package for a recent refinancing. The new facilities, with a pool of international and European lenders, demonstrate a resurgence from the previously overleveraged airport.

Turning up the gas: Traders bet on shale future
Turning up the gas: Traders bet on shale future
Callum Burroughs
26 July 2017

The end of the US’s crude oil export ban in 2015 heralded greater appreciation of shale and its potential opportunities. Commodity traders are now increasingly active in the upstream space as they bid to take advantage of a growing market going forward.

Mixing the junior miner funding pot
Mixing the junior miner funding pot
Callum Burroughs
17 July 2017

The borrowing prospects for junior miners are looking better than they have done for the past three years. But with international banks nursing Basel-battered balance sheets, the lending market for junior mining project risk has changed permanently and the future is multi-sourcing.

TXF Amsterdam talk: Alternative financiers at the forefront
TXF Amsterdam talk: Alternative financiers at the forefront
Callum Burroughs
14 July 2017

TXF caught up with Armin Eckermann, founder of Eckermann & Partners ltd. about the conditions for the rise of alternative financiers in the trade finance space and what the drive to regulate will mean for banks.

Sugar reshuffle: Traders set to profit from EU quota change
Sugar reshuffle: Traders set to profit from EU quota change
Callum Burroughs
11 July 2017

In anticipation of changes to the EU’s sugar production quota in October, European sugar producers and refiners are gearing up for a more competitive market place. Commodity traders are set to benefit - if they can access the necessary financing.

Asian agri-traders: Global funding base for global ambitions
Asian agri-traders: Global funding base for global ambitions
Callum Burroughs
10 July 2017

Singapore-based commodity trader Olam’s debut European revolver is the latest signal that the Asian agri-trader label is outdated. Dramatic growth in recent years means many of these traders are on the verge of becoming global players - approaching the size and reach of the ABCDs - and are growing their funding bases accordingly.

Shandong Qingyuan: Breaking records
Shandong Qingyuan: Breaking records
Callum Burroughs
7 July 2017

Shandong Qingyuan has closed its second benchmark deal in as many years - a $650 million pre-payment facility. The deal is the largest ever structured commodity financing in the Chinese market and the first offshore debt raised by an independent Chinese refiner.

Prepayments: Right direction but sufficient risk perception?
Prepayments: Right direction but sufficient risk perception?
Callum Burroughs
6 July 2017

The second restructuring of Glencore’s pre-pay deal with SHT, combined with more deal volume and the increasingly risky markets traders are financing, is flagging up the growing risk banks take as indirect lenders to prepayment loans by the major commodity traders.

Asian commodities lending: No summer lull for 2017
Asian commodities lending: No summer lull for 2017
Callum Burroughs
28 June 2017

An increase in Chinese business combined with improved commodity prices, greater availability of offshore debt and improved performances mean the traditional Asia commodity finance summer lull is not just late - it is not going to happen.

Coal-fired power: To lend or not to lend?
Coal-fired power: To lend or not to lend?
Callum Burroughs
27 June 2017

Some banks are making great PR from their retreat from coal-related lending. But with new coal-fired power markets opening up, a blanket ban by individual banks on coal-fired projects is arguably more harmful to the environment than selective coal-fired project lending.

Gunvor: Keeping the banks incentivised
Gunvor: Keeping the banks incentivised
Callum Burroughs
22 June 2017

Gunvor has improved its cost of debt via two refinancings in the past month alone. But with two more deals out to market, the trader appears to be balancing improved pricing with the need to keep bank interest.

Commodity trade tech: The new key to making the margins
Commodity trade tech: The new key to making the margins
Callum Burroughs
16 June 2017

The changes that technology will bring to the commodities space are manifold. What can commodity trade finance expect from new technology and, more importantly, is it ready for it?

Commodities lending: Blind man's buffer?
Commodities lending: Blind man's buffer?
Callum Burroughs
12 June 2017

Systemic risk - not yet. But as more of the commodities market becomes concentrated in the hand of a few large traders, are bank exposure limits a workable buffer to an increasingly sophisticated set of market risks?

Coral FLNG: Riding the perfect storm
Coral FLNG: Riding the perfect storm
Callum Burroughs
9 June 2017

Despite being structured during what bankers are calling the project finance equivalent of a perfect storm, the sponsors of Coral FLNG have pulled off Africa's largest ever project borrowing and an FLNG first - and with a long tenor and competitive pricing to match.

Africa and infrastructure key to export and project industry's future growth
Africa and infrastructure key to export and project industry's future growth
Callum Burroughs
9 June 2017

Attendees at TXF’s Global Borrowers’ Summit in Venice have had their say on the current export and project finance industry, highlighting the changes needed to ensure that banks and borrowers can prosper. From regional priorities to suggestions for efficiency improvements – here are the finance community’s insights.

Size matters: Agri traders set for consolidation
Size matters: Agri traders set for consolidation
Callum Burroughs
2 June 2017

The news that Glencore and Bunge have held informal talks about a ‘possible consensual business combination’ is the latest signal that the pace of consolidation in agri-trading is going to pick up. And there is little pure traders can do about it.

Time for a borrowing brew: Chinese teapot loans filtering into international loan market
Time for a borrowing brew: Chinese teapot loans filtering into international loan market
Callum Burroughs
24 May 2017

With a major offshore borrowing by Shandong Qingyuan approaching close, and record Chinese crude import volumes, large international syndicated loan debuts by teapots are expected to be out to the bank market in the second half of 2017.

Crown slips again: Noble trading ability hit by downgrade
Crown slips again: Noble trading ability hit by downgrade
Callum Burroughs
22 May 2017

Downgraded in the middle of major refinancings, Noble is looking at tighter covenants, a higher cost of debt for 2017 and a hit on its ability to trade competitively - but relationship lenders still seem supportive.

Commodity trading: Second tier squeeze
Commodity trading: Second tier squeeze
Callum Burroughs
18 May 2017

The pure trading model used by many second-tier trading houses is under threat. Squeezed by lack of access to finance and a growing gulf between first- and second-tier trader cost of debt, some smaller pure trading houses are finding it increasingly difficult to compete in a market that is becoming dominated by a few global houses.

Synthetics: Unlocking cash for SME loans
Synthetics: Unlocking cash for SME loans
Callum Burroughs
12 May 2017

Uptake of EIF/EIB guarantees to free up bank regulatory capital from SME loan portfolios is growing. And there is nothing synthetic about the impact of synthetics on liquidity for SMEs. But the volume needs to balloon if freed up regulatory capital is going to become more than just an add-on to existing SME loan volume.

Perfect 10 Bahrain LNG: Keeping the costs down - a TXF ECA/project finance Deal of the Year
Perfect 10 Bahrain LNG: Keeping the costs down - a TXF ECA/project finance Deal of the Year
Callum Burroughs
11 May 2017

Despite a sovereign downgrade to junk, Bahrain LNG closed an over-subscribed LNG regas project financing backed by availability payments from Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority - and with only partial ECA cover.

Sow and reap: Glencore secures RCF refi amid agri push
Sow and reap: Glencore secures RCF refi amid agri push
Callum Burroughs
5 May 2017

Glencore has secured refinancing for its RCF as the company continues to impress following its 2015 difficulties. The recent emergence and success of its agri business suggests the trader is set to continue its improved upward curve.

Filling the gap? OTC traders look to banks for structured funds
Filling the gap? OTC traders look to banks for structured funds
Callum Burroughs
3 May 2017

Following a move by major commodity financiers away from OTC brokerage in the wake of the financial crisis hedging solutions providers have moved into the space. Amius’ facility could the first of many such structured deals – if banks decide to take an interest.